A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History
USS NEW DD-818
The Tin Can Sailor, January 2010
The GEARING-class destroyer NEW (DD‑818) was launched on 18 August 1945 by the Consolidated Steel Corporation and commissioned on 5 April 1946. Following shakedown and training, she got underway for the Mediterranean that August. During the first week of September, she cruised off the coast of Greece with the carrier FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. The American ships’ mission was to support American diplomatic efforts to assure Greek citizens the right of self determination in the 1 September plebiscite naming King George II to the throne. Their mission also was to reinforce the United States’ declared opposition to Communist and other guerilla activities, which would become the so-called Truman Doctrine.
Her next duty assignment was with Task Group 125.4, operating with British warships in the Adriatic to prevent an outbreak of hostilities between Italy and Yugoslavia over Trieste. In February 1947, the NEW left the Mediterranean behind for the states and an overhaul. Over the next three years she engaged in training and antisubmarine warfare exercises from Key West to the Davis Straits. In 1949 and 1950, she added midshipman training cruises to her schedule.
The NEW was designated DDE‑818 on 4 March 1950 and, in September, left Norfolk for a month of NATO exercises in the Mediterranean. On her return, she resumed local operations with her squadron, which in January 1951 became CortDesRon 4. Over the next six years she was a unit of the Atlantic Fleet’s destroyer force, rotating tours in the Mediterranean with duty in the Western Atlantic. Assigned to the fleet’s antisubmarine force in April 1956, she conducted her third midshipman training cruise and, in July, became flagship of DesRon 36.
May 1958 saw the NEW beginning her eighth Mediterranean tour. During an extended deployment, she participated in Sixth Fleet operations in response to the request of Lebanon’s President Chamoun for aid in countering a coup against his regime. One of the first ships on the scene, she patrolled the Beirut Straits in case she was needed to evacuate American nationals.
Operating again as DD-818 as of 30 June 1962, the NEW began that year on her usual schedule, which included a summer midshipmen cruise. That fall, however, she was called on to participate in the Cuban missile crisis, leaving Norfolk on 26 October to engage in ASW screening and surface vessel surveillance with Task Group Bravo until 20 November. Upon her return home from the Caribbean, the NEW entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a FRAM Mark I conversion, during which she received the ASROC system.
The modernized NEW returned to active duty with a new squadron, DesRon 22, on 7 December 1963. With that squadron, she participated in ASW operations through most of 1964, with time out for a summer midshipmen training cruise to Europe. In March 1965, she began her regular Sixth Fleet deployment, adding patrol duties in the vital and volatile Red Sea and Persian Gulf areas to bolster units of the British Royal Navy’s forces East of Suez.
Her overseas duty took a major turn in June 1967, when she left Norfolk for WestPac to support operations in Southeast Asia. On 29 July, she arrived at Subic Bay and by 8 August, she was at Da Nang, RVN, whence she steamed north to take up duties on the Northern Search and Rescue Station as a unit of TF 77 in the Tonkin Gulf. On 29 September, she assumed her first fire support duties. Steaming off Quang Ngai, the NEW’s guns supported elements of the Second ROK Marine Brigade and the First U.S. Marine Division during operation Dragon Fire.
Following a brief R&R period, she returned to Vietnam on 19 November for further fire support missions south of the DMZ. She continued in that role until her return home in January 1968. That summer, the NEW took part in the search for the ill‑fated submarine SCORPION, after which she got underway in October for another Mid-East deployment. Because of the closure of the Suez Canal, the destroyer set a course around the Cape of Good Hope and into the Indian Ocean. En route, she made good-will visits to Lourengo Marques, Diego Suarez, and Mombasa, and, in 1969, added Djitouti and Bombay. On arrival she began operations along the coast of the Eurasian heartland.
Routine operations carried her into 1976. That year, on 1 July, she was stricken from the navy’s list. The NEW was transferred to South Korea on 23 February 1977. There she was renamed TAEJON. She was still active in the South Korean navy in 1998.